Usually on Thursdays you’ll read me saying things like, how is it Thursday again already- time flies! But today I woke up and was like… how is it only Thursday? I feel like a lifetime has gone by. It was this time last week that I had an absolutely terrible day in regards to my mental battles with food and my health. It was this time last week that I had the worst Valentines Day that I can remember because of what was going on with me and my food issues. This means it has been LESS than one week since I got a new and improved meal plan from my registered dietitian and she convinced me to my core to eat more.
I’ve been taking every single day one minute at a time. Whenever I start to get overwhelmed I try and repeat one day at a time as many times as possible to myself. Eating more and pushing these boundaries I set with food in the year time period that I was losing weight is extremely hard. Like really hard. Every day is a challenge and every day is long. Last night when I started to have a “moment” because I felt so stressed about all the new things I’m doing per recommendation of my RD and counselor, I did my best to take a deep breath and remind myself that it has been LESS than ONE week since I started all this. I need to realize it’s going to take time- remember my own advice and know that life isn’t a race and I need to be patient.
I’ve been reading a book called My Life Without ED by Jenni Schaefer (she refers to her eating disorder as a man separate from herself and aptly names him “E.D.”). It’s an amazing book and it continually floors me with how spot on accurate she is at describing some of the things I’m going through. There have been times where I have just burst into tears because she’s so spot on. It’s hard to read in black and white what I’m dealing with. I just can’t even believe sometimes that someone out there knows exactly what is happening in my head. But it is comforting to read on some level. Jenni was able to fully recover.
She delivers her story with a sense of humor and realness that you usually can’t find in texts that handle disordered eating. I personally try and bring as much humor into my heavy situation as possible so I appreciate her attitude toward it all. Also, the idea that her therapist gave her to separate herself (her needs, her thoughts, her wants, her desires, her life) from Ed (his thoughts, his wants for her, his desires for her) has been ridiculously helpful for me. Whenever I find myself questioning whether or not I should do something and rational Allison is at battle with the scary disordered eating thoughts- I try and take a step back and say no to Ed.
Example: Ed doesn’t think I should eat this because I didn’t exercise today. BUT I know I should eat this because I need food first of all as it is dinner time and it has been asked of me by my registered dietitian that I stick to my designated meal plan. Ed wants me to sabotage all of my progress because he’s convinced I need him in my life. I want to see the life in my face again, gain weight to be able to live easy and healthily, and break the cycle of control that food and Ed has over me. That’s what I want so I’m going to eat this food. Sorry I’m not sorry, Ed. It’s not easy and sometimes this dialogue with myself involves tears and it always involves anxiety and uncomfortablness. But it makes ME feel sane and normal.
Letting go of Ed and his control is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted to do. It’s scary and sobering to realize that I need to re-learn to love myself and remember who I am. I need to tackle ME head on and stop hiding behind all of my food and Ed and the control. I never thought “being myself” and finding myself would be so hard. As Jenni writes:
I was frequently afraid to let Ed go. Ed was my main way of coping with life. To fully let Ed go, I had to find other ways to deal with life. I also had to be willing to let go of the things I “liked” about Ed. I liked how Ed made me feel special (i.e. being the thinnest one in the room). I had to find other ways to feel special: by just being myself.
In addition to her marking Ed as a person outside of her rational self, she also identifies another person in her life- Ms. Perfection. Ms. Perfection regulates her time- telling her when she should be doing things, that she should be doing things in the most efficient way possible, and always telling her that she is a failure if something doesn’t go according to her plan. For me, Ms. Perfection is just as intense as Ed. Separating those perfectionist thoughts from my own reality has been so helpful.
There have been moments where I’ve been able to think okay- why am I stressed? because it took me longer to do my laundry than I thought? what are the actual consequence of that- absolutely nothing. I don’t operate on a time table. I’m not late for anything. I didn’t fail my entire day. screw you Ms. Perfection. it’s laundry. and this is MY Sunday. this message goes out to you and Ed, I do deserve to eat and be happy today.
And I always try and remember this quote from her book:
Replace perfectionism with persistence. After all, in recovery and life, it’s persistence that really pays off. Forget about perfection.
A brilliant blogger, Sarah, who authors the blog Picky Runner wrote a fabulous post of perfectionism and re-learning to enjoy life. I had to give her a shout out because her post really hit home with me. Thanks, girl.
If you want to understand my emotions and mindset better (or that of anyone you love who struggles with food and their weight)- read this book. I recently asked Will to start reading it (and gave it to him) and because he is the champion of my life, he is reading it. I find that I get so frustrated and overwhelmed when I try and explain what I’m going through to him and other people because really, unless you’ve been in a situation like this- there is no way you can understand. People want to get it. But they can’t. This book is the greatest tool out there for people to see a glimpse into my mind.
I will say, that even though people can’t understand- the love and support of the people around me has been the number two thing getting me through all this (the first thing being my own willpower and desire for change). Jenni really says it best:
There is no magic wand, but I wanted one. And it was me. I had to make the choice to get better, and it was a hard one. But other people believed that I could, and when I believed it too, I started getting better.
So while people look to me and say- you’re full of so much strength and courage! I am trying to acknowledge that yes, they are right. I can do this. But also, I want them to know that I cannot do this without them and their belief that I can be better and move forward. Knowing that other people can still see the spark in me when I can’t feel my own passion is priceless. Really, it is.
OKAY hopefully that wasn’t too heavy for all of you on this lovely Thursday. But I think it’s the perfect segway into my Thursday Treasures because as a part of re-learning to enjoy my life and myself, I need to focus on the brighter things in life that I appreciate and adore.
1) Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer
Reading small segments of this book at a time has been more helpful than most things and life and I cannot thank my counselor enough for recommending it to me. Mana, you’re the greatest.
Hopefully my friend Natasha reads this post and sees that I’m wearing the shirt she handed down to me when we hung out on Tuesday! One person’s old shirt is an awesome new component to a girl’s severely lacking wardrobe. Thanks a million, girl.
Breakfast has been the easiest meal for me to be upping my caloric intake with. Why? Because I love breakfast more than anything. It gets my vote for favorite meal of the day. I make my overnight oats the night before so all I have to do in the morning is grab them out of the fridge, throw in some sunflower seed butter (or almond butter or peanut butter) and eat away! I don’t even have to think about it. I just do it. But it has been fun to play with different milk (coconut milk, regular milk, almond milk), fruit (pineapple, banana, oranges, blueberries), and nut butters to create fun combinations of oats!
Knowing I’m starting my day off right and according to my RD’s plan makes me feel good and happy and confident that I’ll be able to get through the day.
3) Family and friends
Obviously I’m always thankful for those two groups of people BUT I have to just stress today how great everyone has been. Also, I guess I should say that in “friends” I’m including all my blog readers and blog fans and strangers who reach out to me. If you’re following my life and are invested in me, I consider you my friend.
Again, people might not be able to understand fully where I’m at right now- but their love and support and encouragement is one of the greatest things they can give me. I do everything in my power to stay positive about all these shenanigans and so other people’s kind words mean more to me than they know. There is a lot of background noise in my head telling me that I can’t do this and that I’m doing something wrong by eating more and whatnot- BUT it’s my friends and family that seem to remind me just when I need it most that I am a champion for recognizing my problem and doing everything I can to get through this. You’re all fueling my progress just fyi (not to put any pressure on you). I may feel awkward when you encourage me and compliment me (because I really don’t love myself or believe in myself most of the time these days), but these constant reminders are bound to sink in fully eventually. So thank you. Sincerely, thank you.
4) Ben and Leslie’s Wedding
Thursdays have become a mandated rest day for me in terms of exercise. After talking to my counselor and RD, we sort of realized that I always have really hard Thursday nights. As a way to combat that, they have recommended I don’t workout on Thursdays and use that time instead to decompose from the work week when I get home. It’s stressful to think about not going to the gym but why stress about it when I know it’s not happening? There’s not much else to think about. I’m not going.
The NBC comedy block, while “just tv shows” to many, is going to be great in taking my attention away from all my stress tonight. Laughter is the best medicine and Parks and Recreation is like, one of my favorite shows of all time. PLUS Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt are getting married in tonight’s episode! EEEEEE! I will cry- it’s going to happen. But actually I cannot wait.
My dinner tonight will be super easy as it is the leftovers from last night‘s super delicious dinner!
This would be: a delicious burger (ground beef) topped with a slice of pepper jack cheese, mushrooms, and onions (that I cooked with worcestershire sauce). On the side- a heaping pile of sweet potato wedges and green beans.
I love ground beef but got out of the habit of buying it. My RD has recommended I start eating more of it again. Let me just tell you- this is one change I can get on board with. Burgers are just SO GOOD. I am pumped to have this again tonight.
I usually give you some specific things I’m looking forward to about the weekend but this time around- I’m just going to flat out say that I’m just excited in general to have three empty days full of time and promise. Tackling my perfectionist and planner tendencies is the hardest on the weekends because I don’t have work to regulate my time for ten hours. Having completely free days allows me to work on just living life, re-learning to enjoy it, take things as they come, re-learn to enjoy the company of others, and be more open to new food experiences. I have solid plans with Will this weekend (and cannot wait for him to get back from NYC), solid plans with friends, and the Oscars are on. Other than that- this weekend will be one where I work on not stressing and actually enjoying the weekend (and not hyper-planning every hour on the hour and letting Ms. Perfection and Ed ruin things. they will be hanging around. they always are. but practice in dealing with them is the only way I’m going to move past them).
It’s going to be rainy tomorrow and Saturday but I’m not going to let it bring me down. Sunday is supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny and Will and I have plans for a epic urban hike. We haven’t decided where to walk yet… but we’re working on it.
Alright people. Time to get back to the daily grind. Also time to grab another cup of coffee. I hope you all have a good Thursday and are able to enjoy life today.
Remember to be kind to yourself and find compassion for all the brilliant things you do everyday. I’m trying to remember this constantly and know I’m not the only one.
Keep it wicked healthy xoxo